Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David Grahn Returns to Teach Popular Course in Policy & the Federal Budget

Last week, we were delighted to once again welcome our good friend and colleague, David Grahn, teaching his fast-paced condensed course in how federal budget rules impact the development of agricultural and food policy. This course has become one of our most popular, and it gives us all a window into the world of Washington policy making.

 David serves at the USDA Office of General Counsel as Associate General Counsel for International Affairs, Food Assistance, and Farm and Rural Programs.  He represents the interests of a wide range of USDA entities: Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency / Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, Rural Development Agency, Rural Business Service, Rural Utilities Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, the Food and Nutrition Service, and the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

David spent Monday, Tuesday, and part of Wednesday with our LL.M. class explaining complex aspects of policy development, from the crafting of federal law to its implementation by the federal agencies.  Much of the class was devoted to understanding how the federal budget drives policy development and how administrative law can be used strategically to affect policy outcomes.  It was a practical, real-world look at how agencies work, how political goals can best be met, and how money works in Washington.

David is known for his energetic and effective teaching style, and he engages with the class throughout the course, building complexity point by point. As one student noted, "It is truly an amazing opportunity to take this course."

As always, David offered support for our efforts in the LL.M. Program.  His contribution to our Program is invaluable. We are grateful for his support, and our candidates are delighted with the opportunity to learn from him. We were pleased to have two of our distance candidates come to Fayetteville to earn this credit face-to-face, and it was fun to have them with us in person.

A special note that is a testimony to David's professionalism -  in order to avoid any possible conflict of interest or funding issue, David volunteers his time to the Program.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tax Deduction for Food Donation Guide Published

We are pleased to announce the publication of another important guide to encourage businesses to donate food to those in need.

Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction for Food Donation: A Legal Guide was published in a coordinated effort by the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic and the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of Law.

An estimated 40 percent of food produced in the United States goes uneaten. American consumers waste 160 billion pounds of food each year; food is also wasted on farms and in stores, schools, and restaurants.  At the same time, almost 15 percent of U.S. households are food insecure at some point during the year.  Diverting a fraction of the wholesome food that currently goes to waste in this country could effectively end food insecurity for all Americans.  Farms and food businesses can play a key role by donating more food to organizations that serve those in need.

The federal government has recognized the importance of food donation and provides tax deductions to incentivize businesses to donate food.  Under current federal law, businesses that donate property, including food, may claim a general tax deduction in the amount of the property’s basis.  One type of business, C corporations, may claim an enhanced tax deduction that exceeds the property’s basis for donating certain property, including food.

Those businesses eligible for the enhanced tax deduction must meet certain requirements to receive the enhanced deduction that are not necessary to receive the general tax deduction. To help food donors access this valuable tax incentive the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic and the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of Law developed a plain-language legal guide, Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction for Food Donation.  This document first provides an overview of federal tax deductions available for businesses that donate food, and then explains the additional requirements that C corporations must meet to receive the enhanced tax deduction.

The Food Law & Policy Clinic's blog provides additional information about the release of this important new publication and references the ongoing work of the clinic. See, FLPC, in partnership with the Food Recovery Project, Launches Legal Guide on the Federal Enhanced Tax Deduction for Food Donations.

This is the third in a series of important legal guides on food waste published by the Food Recovery Project and Harvard's Food Law & Policy Clinic.  The Food Recovery Project at Arkansas published Food Recovery: A Legal Guide that was referenced recently on an episode of John Oliver's show Last Week Tonight.  The Food Law & Policy Clinic published the The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America with NRDC, a publication that de-mystified the confusing issue of food product dating - emphasizing that dates do not reflect a food safety concern and actually encourage food waste.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Spring Classes and New Opportunities for Distance Education

In the LL.M. Program, we are continuing our work to expand our curriculum to cover the wide range of new and emerging issues of interest. Spring Semester 2016, we will offer several new classes as well as enhanced versions of some of our prior courses.  The full listing of courses is now posted on the side bar to the right of this post.

We are pleased to welcome a limited number of non-degree students to our classes next semester. Students who are enrolled in a J.D program or a related graduate program or professionals interested in food and agricultural law issues are welcome to apply for enrollment in a specific course.  Space is limited, as our LL.M. candidates remain our top priority and our focus.

For more information, we have developed a flyer that lists the courses available, details regarding the type and format of each course and the cost.  This flyer, 2016 Spring Semester LL.M. Course Offerings Open to J.D. Students is available for download.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Celebrate International Education Week

International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of the efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the United States. To learn more about IEW, visit the Department of State website.

SATURDAY: November 14th

National Unity Day -- Russia, 12:00 noon - Fulbright Peace Fountain by Old Main. The Russia-Eurasia Student Organization wants to celebrate the National Unity Day by inviting the University of Arkansas community to play a quest game dedicated to the events that rallied Russian people and led to the Romanov dynasty to take the throne. Food will be served at the close of the game. Sponsor: Associated Student Government and the Russia-Eurasia Student Organization. Contact - Rustem Galiullin; grustem@email.uark.edu

International Education Week Lunch Specials – 11 am – 2pm , Ella’s Restaurant at the Inn at Carnell Hall on UA Campus, Lunch specials will be available for lunch at Ella’s Restaurant, with a different country represented each day. Monday China, Tuesday Brazil, Wednesday Bolivia, Thursday Panama, Friday India

MONDAY: November 16th

The Role of International Education in Peacebuilding, 8:00am - 10:00am, Holcombe Hall Classroom, Through international education, students become more effective communicators, more engaged citizens, and learn to think critically about the relationships between local and global issues. These skills are all vital to building peace in a world full of conflict. To celebrate this capacity of international education during International Education Week, NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Alliance for Peacebuilding invite you to a free panel discussion on the role of international education in peacebuilding. Experts in conflict resolution and peacebuilding will: 
  • Provide a high-level overview of the ways in which international engagement and global learning can help mitigate conflict and empower individuals to become peacebuilders
  • Share key strategies and approaches available to educators to engage students in peacebuilding both locally and globally 
  • Examine the role of global learning in the peacebuilding process. Contact - Michael Freeman: mfreeman@uark.edu

International Dress Day & Photo, all day, Group Photo after Opening session 11 a.m.. International Connections Lounge in the Arkansas Union, Wear a hat, tee shirt, scarf, traditional outfit from where you are from of have visited. A group Photo will be following the IEW Opening remarks.

Opening session and International Bazaar, 11:00am – 2:00pm, International Connection Lounge in the Arkansas Union, Kim Needy, Dean of Graduate School and International Education will open the University of Arkansas' International Education Week followed by a group picture of the University of Arkansas community in traditional dress. International Bazaar will contribute to inclusion and diversity on campus though cultural table presentations and performances by international students. Sponsor: International Students Organization (ISO) Contact – Layseen Chen Torres: lachento@uark.edu

Study Abroad Photo Contest Display, 11:00am – 2:00pm, International Connections Lounge, Winners of the 2015 Study Abroad Photo Contest will be announced and displayed during the International Bazaar. Sponsor: Office of Study Abroad and International Exchange, Contact – Brian Poepsel: bpoepse@uark.edu

Theatre and Diplomacy, 5:30pm, Giffels Auditorium, A presentation by Syrian playwright and diplomat Riad Ismat. This is an event raising awareness of the need of defending academic freedom worldwide and creating support networks of international solidarity. Sponsor: UA Scholars at Risk Committee, Arts and Sciences Area Studies, Theatre, English, Diversity Affairs, Contact – Luis Restrepo: lrestr@uark.edu
For a full listing of events throughout the week, visit the International Students & Scholars website

Friday, November 6, 2015

UCLA Resnick Program Issues New Report on Food Equity and Law Schools: Our Program Highlighted

The Resnick Program for Food Law & Policy at UCLA School of Law recently released an excellent report, Food Equity, Social Justice, and the Role of Law Schools:  A Call to Action, researched and written by Kim Kessler and Emily Chen. The Report was written as part of the University of California’s Global Food Initiative. This system-wide initiative "challenges campuses to develop solutions for one of the most pressing issues of our time: the 'quest to establish global food security and address related challenges of nutrition and sustainability.'" LL.M. Alumnus, Michael T. Roberts serves as the Director of the Resnick Program.

The report articulates the need for law schools to "more visibly and holistically address this pressing societal challenge," and it considers how law schools across the nation are currently addressing the "social, economic, and environmental injustice in our current food system." It highlights the ongoing work within the California system.  It then provides a compelling impetus for law schools to do more to confront the inequities within our food system and to integrate more food policy and food justice into the law school curriculum. We applaud the Resnick Center for putting out this "call to action."

Several law schools receive special recognition in the Report with a case study describing the school's work in this area. We are proud to be the first school acknowledged, and the Report notes that
In the field of food law and policy, the University of Arkansas School of Law has been foundational. For decades, the law school has been at the cutting edge of food and agricultural law and scholarship. 
Both the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and the Food Recovery Project were referenced as examples of our outreach and national recognition. Our overall integrated and interdisciplinary approach is recognized, as we attempt to merge issues of sustainability, food security, food system resilience, and social justice throughout our curriculum.

Four of our classes "from [our] extensive curriculum" are highlighted as excellent examples of work in promoting food equity:
  • Food Justice: Law & Policy (course created and taught by Nicole Civita);  
  • The Right to Food (course created and taught by Uche Ewelukwa); 
  • Business, Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in the Food/Ag Sector (course created and taught by Uche Ewelukwa); and 
  • Legal Issues in Indigenous Food & Agriculture (course created and taught by Janie Hipp and Erin Shirl).
We are in excellent company. Beyond the opportunities presented within the University of California system, several other schools that received case study recognition:
  • The Turner Environmental Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law "has made food law and policy one of its central focuses, with projects at all levels of government;"
  • Harvard Law School is recognized as home to the "first Food Law and Policy Clinic in the Nation;"
  • The University of Michigan Law School’s Community and Economic Development Clinic, has been "working to create the legal backbone of the 'good food economy'" in Detroit; 
  • New York University School of Law's International Human Rights Clinic of the Center for Human Right and Global Justice has undertaken "numerous research and advocacy projects that focused on food and agricultural policies and on the right to food;" and,
  • An independent food justice project conducted through a Local Government class at Stanford Law School resulted in a new law in the state of California, Assembly Bill 551—the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act.
The Report concludes that a lack of awareness of food equity issues and research constraints are two of the main challenges deterring law schools from additional work in this area.  It then presents a series of thoughtful recommendations going forward.
Foundational to any recommendations for mobilizing law schools to address food equity issues is the importance of developing a shared understanding of: (1) the effects of our current food system on the health and economic mobility of disadvantaged communities throughout the food chain— from production to distribution (farm to fork), and (2) the resulting social and legal issues lawyers and law schools are in a unique position to address, and which can provide essential skills training for law students. 
The report encourages schools to frame engagement in food equity issues as both an opportunity for students to engage in experiential learning and to recognize their law degree “as an empowering degree—how to use law in a rule of law society”. [citation omitted] It suggests that schools leverage existing classes, clinics, and experiential programs to capture the potential overlap with food equity and to innovate in the formation of partnerships. Practical suggestions, with best practices and implementation strategies are provided.

We hope that the Resnick Program's Call to Action will be heard far and wide. There is rewarding and challenging work to be done in this critical area.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Annual Agricultural Law Conference in South Carolina

The LL.M. Program was once again well represented at the American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Annual Educational Symposium. The event was held October 21-23 in Charleston, South Carolina at the historic Francis Marion Hotel. It was very well attended -  over 280 registered participants. The symposium was organized by LL.M. alumna Beth Crocker, who served as President-elect during 2014-15 and now begins her service as AALA President.  Congratulations on such a successful conference, Beth!

I'll post some photos later, but for now, here is our LL.M. involvement stats -

Six of the speakers at the conference were professors in the LL.M. Program:

  • David Grahn -  2015 Farm Bill Update, and Crop Insurance
  • Neil Hamilton - Water Law: Update on Des Moines Water Works Litigation; and Land Ownership and Duties Related to Stewardship of Land and Water
  • Phil Harris - 2015 Tax Law Update, and Succession, Estate Planning & Trusts 101
  • Bill Marler, Keynote Address: 22 Years in the Kitchen
  • Susan Schneider - 2015 Food Law Update 
  • Allen Olson - Agricultural Law & Climate Change

Twenty-three LL.M. alumni were in attendance, and most presented to the conference or were involved in planning the conference:
Terry Centner, University of Georgia
Marne Coit, OFA-NY
Alli Condra, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Amy Cornell, Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc.
Beth Crocker, Clemson University
Jason Foscolo, Foscolo & Handel PLLC
Andy Frame, Adams and Reese, LLP
Paul Goeringer, University of Maryland
Lauren Handel, Foscolo & Handel PLLC
Stan Lawson, Stanley R. Lawson P.C.
Cara McNab, USDA RMA
Ashley Newhall, University of Maryland
Allen Olson, Allen Olson Law Firm
Alison Peck, WVU College of Law
Jeff Peterson, Gray, Plant, Mooty PA (serving on the AALA Board of Directors)
Ross Pifer, Penn State Law
Harrison Pittman, National Agricultural Law Center
Beth Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center
Rusty Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center
Chris Saunders, North Carolina General Assembly
Susan Schneider, University of Arkansas School of Law
Ray Watson, Illinois
Jennifer Zwagerman, Drake Law School (serving on the AALA Board of Directors)
Six current LL.M. student were in attendance, with two also serving on panels as moderators. These students included:

  • Emma Hempstead, (moderating the Climate Change panel)
  • Mike Hoffman, Michael Hoffman, P.C. (moderating the Sustainable Land Use / Land Tenure panel) 
  • Satoko Kato
  • Mark Opanasiuk
  • Edward Peterson
And, three alumni serve in AALA leadership positions:  AALA President, Beth Crocker and AALA Board Members, Jeff Peterson and Jennie Zwaggerman.

It was wonderful to catch up with so many friends and to meet so many people interested in our work. Lots of good conversations with people who are interested in taking our LL.M. classes either as degree candidates or on a non-degree basis.  It is truly a good time to be practicing agricultural and food law.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Farewell to our Friend and Mentor, David Lambert

I awoke yesterday morning to the sad news that our friend, David Lambert, had passed away.

David was recognized internationally as an expert in global food security, and he was a passionate advocate in the fight against world hunger. A native Arkansan, David was principal of Lambert Associates, a Washington, D.C., public affairs consulting firm providing strategic policy advice to United Nation’s agencies, land-grant universities and the U.S. private sector on issues related to global food security, child nutrition, food safety and agricultural biotechnology. He served as a Distinguished Fellow at Iowa State University’s Seed Science Center and as Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Catholic University of America.  He was very proud to have served as Foreign Agricultural Service Counselor to the U.S. Mission to the UN Agencies during the Clinton Administration.

David's message on Ending World Hunger is available on the Clinton School of Public Service website.  Two of his recent articles appeared in the University of Arkansas School of Law's Journal of Food Law & Policy, The Quest to End Hunger in Our Time: Can Political Will Catch up with our Core Values? and Global Food Security: In Our National Interest.  Our LL.M. students were pleased to assist him with his Journal publications, offering our students the opportunity to work with him on issues of such great importance. He was scheduled to be in Iowa this past week as part of the World Food Prize Lecture Series, delivering an address, A Closer Look at Global Food Security: Why Science Matters.

Whenever attending a conference or meeting in Washington D.C., David would delight in introducing me and our work in the LL.M. Program to everyone he knew.  He encouraged us to develop our global food security curriculum and to address world hunger in our studies, and both are now core aspects of our Program.  I was looking forward to seeing him this Spring and telling him about our new Right to Food class and our hopes for a Global Food Security and the Rule of Law Initiative. I knew he would be so pleased.  His absence will be felt when I attend the National Food Policy Conference -  my usual venue to see him.

Through his lectures, his writings, and his personal commitment, David was an inspiration. We were honored to have him in our classroom and as our friend.  We will miss him. As we continue to develop our Program with global food security issues in sharp focus, we will continue to dedicate our work to his leadership.

Please note that an earlier version of this post indicated that David suffered a massive heart attack. I have since learned that this was not the case. His heart simply stopped beating, and as the Washington Post reported, in his Legacy post, he "died of a heart incident in his sleep early on the morning of October 16, 2015 while attending the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa."  Our sympathies are extended to all of David's family and friends. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Professor Schneider Presents at Food Law & Policy Summit at Harvard Law School

This in from Professor Susan Schneider, Director of the LL.M. Program:

Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic Summit organizers
The women behind the successful Harvard Summit, Left to right,
Emily Broad Leib, Emma Clippinger, Christina Rice, Ona Balkus
Last weekend, it was my pleasure to participate in the Food Law Student Leadership Summit at Harvard Law School. This amazing event was organized by Emily Broad Leib and her team at the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic. Note that this team includes our very own LL.M. candidate and soon-to-be-alumna, Christina Rice. Christina serves as a Clinical Fellow in the Harvard Food Law & Policy Clinic, and it was great to see her in her new role.

The Leadership Summit was organized to bring together law students who are interested in food law & policy issues, to help them advance their interests within their law schools and to create a national network of leadership. From the Summit website:
The Food Law Student Leadership Summit is the first conference to convene law students from around the country who share a passion for food law and policy. Participants will hear from national experts about key food law and policy issues related to the environment, health, food safety, and food waste; develop strategies to start or expand student food law organizations; build a national network of food law and policy colleagues; and begin to develop coordinated strategies for addressing some of society’s most pressing food law and policy concerns.
Dean Minow speaks at Food Law & Policy Summit
Dean Martha Minow addresses the Summit, with Peter Barton
Hutt and Emily Broad Leib listening to her remarks
The Summit exceeded even its most optimistic projections. Over 100 law students from 50 different law schools were accepted from a wide pool of applicants.  Presenters included some of the most notable professors and practitioners in food law & policy today. The event was kicked off with an impassioned speech from Harvard Law School Dean Margaret Minow who advocated that "food is everything" and that it works to integrate all of of the elements of the law school curriculum into a meaningful and critical study. The Summit was generously funded by the Charles M. Haar Food and Health Law and Policy Fund.

Speaking at Harvard on pharmaceutical use in the the livestock industrp
Professor Susan Schneider speaking on
Pharmaceutical Use in the Livestock Industry

The weekend event was structured with educational presentations and student problem-solving exercises. I delivered two presentations on Saturday. The first was on the Use of Pharmaceuticals in the Livestock Industry and it was based on my recent article published in the Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum. The second was Keeping the Farmer in Food Policy, and it was co-taught with Professor Neil Hamilton.  It is always a pleasure to see and to work with our condensed course professor and colleague from Drake University School of Law.  In addition, I worked with the students in evaluating their problem-solving simulations, working with Christina in the classroom.

I was very proud to have several of our LL.M. students selected for attendance in the Summit.  Nicole Cook, Dave Nezzie, and Kelvin Stroud were at the Summit and represented us well.

It was an honor to participate in this event and to present to these students -  the future of food law. I do hope that we will see some of the in the next few years with us in the LL.M. Program!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Graduate Assistant with the Law Group of NW Arkansas: Katie Willoughby

We are proud to announce the The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas Graduate Assistantship within the LL.M. Program.

The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas is home to LL.M. Alumni KC Tucker and Kritsy Boehler, who along with partner Gray Weeks were instrumental in making this assistantship a reality.

The Law Group of Northwest Arkansas represents individuals and businesses in all areas of agricultural and food law "from farm to fork." Their website provides examples of the types of work they do for the farm and food sector clients.
[W]e represent large-scale animal agricultural firms as well as farmers and ranchers in lease drafting or disputes, we assist in establishing Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs, and regularly advise clients in matters related to foodborne illness liability. We also represent individuals and businesses in all phases of complex litigation, with a focus on agricultural, food, and environmental issues.
The firm  selected LL.M. Candidate  Katie Willoughby to serve in the graduate assistantship position. Katie recently completed a J.D., from Cumberland School of Law and holds a B.S. in Animal Science (Equine) from Auburn University, cum laude.

We thank the The Law Group for their support of the LL.M. Program and for the mentoring they will provide to Katie.  And, we congratulate Katie for the award. We know she will do a great job.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Food Law Firm Graduate Assistant: Satoko Kato

We are proud to announce that the The Food Law Firm, located in Sag Harbor, New York agreed  to sponsor a Graduate Assistantship in the LL.M. Program. LL.M. Candidate Satoko Kato was selected for this honor.

The Food Law Firm was founded by  LL.M. Alumnus Jason Foscolo. After building a successful practice, Jason brought on his new partner, Lauren Handel also an alumni of our Program. LL.M. Program Affiliated Professor Nicole Civita serves as of counsel to the firm. We are delighted with their success and pleased to have another new connection through the GA sponsorship.

Satko is particularly deserving of this special honor.  She holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she served on the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal. She holds a B.A. in Law from Sophia University, Tokyo. Satoko is admitted to practice law in New York, most recently serving as Counsel to Shearman & Sterling LLP in New York and Tokyo.  The following excerpt from the Food Law Firm's announcement references some of her many accomplishments.
Satoko Kato has more than ten years of experience working at a top global law firm in New York and Tokyo.  There, she represented multinational corporations in connection with securities offerings, public disclosure and compliance.  She also represented clients in investigations by the Department of Justice in alleged Sherman Act violations. 
An omnivore enthusiastic of good food and drinks, she attended culinary school and interned at a commercial kitchen incubator where she became highly inspired by the energy of food entrepreneurs and the unique food and beverages they are bringing to the market.  In the course of communicating with food entrepreneurs, she felt that there is a market to be served in providing good legal counseling.  She aspires to channel her skills and experience into the food and beverage and agriculture industries.

Friday, October 2, 2015

LL.M. Program Welcomes Valeriya Zayets

Valeriya Zayets
The School of Law was delighted to award a Graduate Assistantship to Ukrainian Lawyer Valeriya Zayets, allowing her to join us as an LL.M. Candidate.  We are delighted to have her with us.

Valeriya holds an LL.B. from Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman, and a Master of Laws in Energy Law from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Prior to joining the LL.M. Program, Valeriya served as a Law Consultant to the Ukrainian Mining Company, LLC and as a Law Consultant to Privat Bank. She is a Co-founder and member of the Students League branch of Ukrainian Bar Association at Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman. She has served in a volunteer capacity as an Independent Legal Assistant to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine and is keenly interested in the development of the Ukrainian food and agriculture system post-revolution.

In recent years, the LL.M. Program has enhanced its international law curriculum. This expansion has been possible thanks to the extensive international law work of Professor Christopher Kelley and Professor Uche Ewelukwa. This has helped us to attract talented international candidates such as Valeriya.

The globalization of our food system, concerns about global food security, food sovereignty, land tenure, and international intellectual property rights, to name but a few emerging issues, have highlighted the need for more coordinated work. Climate change will only accelerate the urgency of these issues. Valeriya will be working with us to further develop our international food and agriculture curriculum and to explore global food and agriculture initiatives that would link our expertise with more international universities, governments, NGOs, and students.  We are happy to have her assistance and look forward to a great year of work with her.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

RUSLEF Fellow Joins LL.M. Program

We are also delighted to announce our first LL.M. fellow sponsored by the Russia-United States Legal Education Foundation (RUSLEF), Ksenia Petrovets joins us from St. Petersburg, Russia.

RUSLEF supports the development of the rule of law in Russia through educational exchange opportunities with U.S. law schools. It was created for the purpose of promoting the study and understanding of law between members of the Russian legal academy and the American Legal Academy.  RUSLEF supports a small number of carefully selected students for fellowships at U.S. law schools. While we have had former RUSLEF fellows attend the LL.M. Program in previous years, Ksenia is the first awarded a fellowship for our Program.

Ksenia holds a Master of Laws from The Law of the World Trade Organization, Saint-Petersburg State University, and a Bachelor of Laws from Saint-Petersburg State University. Her professional experience include serving as Legal Counsel to JSCB Intrust Bank, Saint-Petersburg, Russia. Ksenia will join Mark in his work on the School of Laws Global Food & Agriculture International Initiative.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fulbright Scholar Joins the LL.M. Program

As our Fall classes settle into a routine pattern, it is now time to acknowledge some of the remarkable attorney-students in this year's class and the sponsors that make their participation in our Program possible.

We are delighted to report that the Mark Opanasiuk is the first Fulbright Scholar to attend our Program.  When Mark was selected to for the Fulbright Student Program, our Program was his first program of choice.

Mark is familiar with our Program thanks in part to his colleague at the Inyurpolis Law Firm (ILF) in Kharkiv, Ukraine, LL.M.  Professor Christopher Kelley, who serves as a consultant to the firm. Mark serves as a Junior Associate with the ILF, in its Investment Consulting Department.

Mark is pursuing a Ph.D. from  the Research Institute of State Department and Municipal Government of Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine, holds a Master of Laws, diploma cum laude, from the National Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU), and a Bachelor of Laws, diploma cum laude, from the Nat’l Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU).  In addition to his studies, Mark will assist LL.M. Professor Christopher Kelley in recruiting additional international students to the LL.M. Program and the law school's Accelerated J.D. Program.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Journal of Food Law & Policy Seeking Submissions

The Journal of Food Law & Policy at the University of Arkansas School of Law is seeking submissions.  There may be space for one more article in the Fall publication, offering a quick turn around on publication. That issue will be going to the publisher in December. Articles for the Spring publication can be submitted anytime this semester.

Over the years, the Journal's student editors and staff have been proud to publish works by some of the most recognized leaders in the food law community. The Journal is an important part of law school's leadership in food law and policy, and we are proud of their accomplishments.

Last Spring, the Journal celebrated its tenth anniversary with a live-streamed symposium featuring Neil Hamilton, Peter Barton Hutt, Michael Roberts, and Susan Schneider.

Submission of articles can be made by direct delivery via e-mail to foodlaw@uark.edu.  This year's Editor in Chief is Kaelin Bowling.  Please include a brief abstract and CV or resume with each submission.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Professor Schneider honored among Outstanding Faculty

Dean Stacy Leeds and Professor Susan Schneider
LL.M Program Director Susan Schneider was among the "Outstanding Faculty" honored by Chancellor Dan Ferritor and Ashok Saxena, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. Professor Schneider, the William H. Enfield Professor of Law at the Law School, received the medallion bestowed upon endowed professors in a luncheon ceremony during the first week of classes. 

Thank you to Dean Emeritus and Nathan G. Gordon Professor of Law Cynthia Nance, also honored as an outstanding professor, for capturing some photos from the event.

Professor Schneider with Chancellor Dan Ferritor

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Update: Chicago Urban Ag Project by Diane MacDonald

Over the summer, we posted on the interesting projects completed by the LL.M. candidates in last year's Urban Agriculture: Law & Policy class taught by Professor Nicole Civita. We inadvertently left one excellent project out, and the original blog post has been edited to correct this error.  Diane MacDonald did an excellent job on her project, Food System Assessment: 44th Ward, Chicago, Illinois. We are delighted to call attention to it now.  Congratulations for your good work, Diane.

We are pleased to have this excellent class in our curriculum and delighted with the innovative work our students have done in this emerging area of law and policy.

This class will begin again, September 17, with a record 17 students enrolled -  a mix of face-to-face and distance students participating.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

LL.M. Welcome Party at Amy White's Home

LL.M. Welcome Party, Aug. 20, 2015
We enjoyed a great welcome party for our incoming LL.M. class, hosted at the home of Amy White. Amy is one of our alumni, graduating from the Program in 1999. She now works as Food Safety and Health Manager for Labeling Compliance at Walmart and is active in the Fayetteville community.

The party included members of our incoming class that were able to be in Fayetteville with us, friends and family, and LL.M. and law school faculty.  It was a lovely evening in all respects.  We thank Amy for her gracious hospitality and thank Dean Stacy Leeds and the University of Arkansas School of Law for sponsoring the event.

Alumni News-Trevor FIndley

Trevor Findley, LL.M. 2015
LL.M. Alumnus Trevor Findley was recently appointed as Special Assistant to the Administrator at Risk Management Agency, USDA.

Trevor joins a number of our distinguished alumni who serve the USDA in and out of Washington.  For example, Trevor will work under LL.M Alumni Brandon Willis, Administrator of USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) and report to Richard Flournoy, Chief of Staff at USDA RMA.

Trevor will be working on projects for the Office of the Administrator, including assistance with appeals and litigation. Trevor reports "I'm excited to work with both Richard and Brandon, and to be working in an area that is becoming an increasingly important part of agricultural policy. There's no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be here without the practical experience and education provided by the LL.M. program, as well as the Program's alumni network."

For more on Trevor and his experience in the LL.M. Program, check out this short clip from our LL.M. Alumni Mini Series.

Congratulations, Trevor!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A New LL.M. Year Begins Again

Last week, we introduced our new candidates to the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.  We began with a short orientation session where we discussed our course of study, LL.M. Program degree requirements, and our approach to creating an innovative learning environment that nurtures and encourages our candidates to succeed.

After orientation, we were delighted to once again welcome Professor Neil Hamilton back to Arkansas to teach our first Fall semester course - one of our favorite traditions in the LL.M. Program. An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture provides a thought-provoking overview of many of the issues that we will be exploring throughout the year.

Professor Hamilton serves as the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law at Drake University Law School and as the Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center. His 30-plus years of leadership in agricultural law in the U.S. and abroad allow him to bring unique perspectives to his teaching.  We are always delighted to have him with us.

As usual, the class took a field trip to the Fayetteville Farmer's Market, and this time they had an opportunity to meet and talk with Market Vendor Manager, Teresa Mauer.  Teresa took time out of her very busy morning (the beginning of the Fayetteville Roots Music and Local Food Festival) to provide information to our class and to answer questions.  She was very helpful, and it put our studies into good context. A shout out "thank you" to Teresa! The students spoke with vendors, watched the EBT process in action, and spoke with market customers.

The following slideshow shows captures the spirit of orientation, Professor Hamilton's class and the market.  Our thanks to Yen Nguyen, LL.M. Technology Coordinator, for her photography and the production of this video.

Revolution of Dignity Art Exhibit at School of Law

From August - November 2015, Professor Christopher Kelley has arranged for the School of Law to host the Revolution of Dignity Art Exhibit featuring images from Ukraine's' Maidan 2013-2014. The art created during and after the Revolution of Dignity captures the extraordinary hope, spirit, and promise of great change. For those who were on the Maidan, it stirs recalled emotions that are at once joyous and sad. Brave men and women—some young; some old—died defending the Maidan and what it represented—the beginning of an era when Ukrainians could enjoy the dignity of a people committed to the rule of law.

Ukraine is the largest country located entirely within Europe with a long regionally, culturally, and politically diverse history. It gained its current independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union imploded. Since then, Ukrainians have struggled to gain what seven decades of Soviet rule denied it—the rule of law, which is now guaranteed by Ukraine’s constitution. This struggle has been marked by a series of mass protests, two of which drew prolonged worldwide attention—the Orange Revolution in 2004 and the Revolution of Dignity in 2013-2014. Both “revolutions” reflected Ukrainians’ desire to overcome political and other corruption.

The Revolution of Dignity began on November 21, 2014, as news spread that then-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych had suspended preparations to sign the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement. This Agreement would have advanced Ukrainian-EU integration and, within Ukraine, European values, including the rule of law. A wave of demonstrations and civil unrest followed, largely centered on Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square). On November 30, 2013, riot police known as the "Berkut" attacked and injured scores of protesters near the Maidan. This enraged Ukrainians, solidified the Revolution of Dignity, and led to almost three months of massive demonstrations on the Maidan and elsewhere. Before the Revolution ended on February 23, 2014, more than one hundred people had died in the struggle against the government’s repression and corruption. Every Ukrainian was affected by the Revolution of Dignity, though some were threatened by values it embodied, values distinctly different from those encased in Ukraine’s Soviet legacy.

The Maidan witnessed a great explosion of all forms and genres of art, but posters were the most effective and popular. From original satirical works to manipulated images from internet memes, the posters quickly reacted to and documented major developments during the months leading up to the Maidan and while events there escalated until the reign of sniper fire ended.

Curated by Natalia Moussienko and Andriy Sydorenko from the Modern Art Research Institute in Kyiv, the Exhibit was first displayed in Kyiv in September 2014 and is now traveling around the world. The University of Arkansas School of Law is honored to host the Exhibit and is grateful for those who helped bring it to the Law School. Special thanks goes to the Ukraine Fulbright Program, the Kennan Institute, the Modern Art Research Institute, and the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Pictured from left are LL.M. Candidates
 Mark Opanasiuk and Valeriya Zayets
with Michael Ramirez, and Kim Tomlinson
from the University of Arkansas Art Department
Of special note, this fall the LL.M. Program will be joined by two Ukrainian Candidates, Mark Opanasiuk and Valeriya Zayats. Mark and Valeriya together with the University of Arkansas Art Department installed the Revolution of Dignity. We are especially grateful to Mark and to Valeriya for their part in bringing this exhibit to life.

For more information on the exhibit, please join us on Facebook.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Welcome to the New and Returning LL.M. Class!

We are pleased to welcome the largest LL.M. class ever -  with 21 students enrolled full and part time. They are a fantastic group, and we could not be more proud of their accomplishments.  Their enthusiasm for agricultural and food law studies is inspiring.

Dean Stacy Leeds welcomes the new LL.M. class
Our twelve new face-to-face LL.M. candidates come from Alabama, Arkansas, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, Ukraine, Russia, and Italy. Over half of the class are experienced attorneys, the others are recent graduates.

Our nine distance candidates are a mix of returning part-time candidates and new candidates (both full and part-time). They will be joining us from California, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.  Eight are experienced attorneys, and one is recent graduate.

We are proud to once again have distinguished military veterans in the class.

In addition to our degree candidates, we have two law students from other law schools enrolled in our regular semester classes for transfer credit, and we have an Agricultural Economics graduate student taking classes as well.

Photos coming soon as we blog about our introductory class with Professor Neil Hamilton, a special trip to the Fayetteville Farmers Market, and a welcome party at LL.M. alumna, Amy White's house. Stay tuned!

Here are brief bios of our class includes (new and part-time returning):

Face-to-Face Candidates 

J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.S., Psychology, Kansas State University

J.D, Northeastern University School of Law
B.S., Psychology, University of Iowa
Admitted to practice law in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Iowa
Recent professional experience includes: Staff Attorney, General Counsel’s Office, Employers Mutual Casualty Company

Master in Human Develop’t & Food Security, Universita’ Degli Studi Roma Tre
J.D., Loyola University School of Law
B.A., Philosophy, Spelman College
Military Education: Command Staff College, Marine Corps University; Expeditionary Warfare School, Marine Corps University
Admitted to practice law in Louisiana
Recent professional experience includes: Ethics Officer, The International Fund for Agricultural Development, Rome, Italy; Action Officer, Judge Advocate Division, United States Marine Corps

J.D., Vermont Law School
B.A., Sociology, University of Colorado at Boulder
Admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts and Vermont
Recent Professional Experience: VT Statewide Coordinator, Antibiotics for Food & Water Watch

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Immigration Law Journal)
B.A., Law, Sophia University, Tokyo
Admitted to practice law in New York
Recent professional experience includes: Counsel, Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York, Tokyo

J.D., University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law (McGeorge Law Review)
Oxford University, Summer 2010 Legal Exchange Program
B.A., Legal Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Admitted to practice in California
Recent professional experience includes: Adjunct Professor, University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law; Associate, Desmond, Nolan Livaich & Cunningham

Ph.D., Research Institute of State Department and Municipal Government of Academy of Legal Sciences of Ukraine (anticipated)
Master of Laws, diploma cum laude, Nat’l Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU)
Bachelor of Laws, diploma cum laude, Nat’l Law University named after Yaroslav the Wise (NLU)
Ukrainian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Junior Associate, Inyurpolis Law Firm (ILF), Investment Consulting Department

Master of Laws, The Law of the World Trade Organization, Saint-Petersburg State University
Bachelor of Laws, Saint-Petersburg State University
Russian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Legal Counsel, JSCB Intrust Bank

J.D., University of South Carolina School of Law (South Carolina Envtl Law Journal)
B.A., Political Science, Magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Furman University
Admitted to practice in South Carolina
Professional experience includes: Practice Administrator, John R. Ross M.D., PA; Litigation Associate, Nexsen Pruet, LLC

J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
B.A., English, Southern Illinois University
Admitted to practice law in Missouri
Professional experience includes: Associate, Law Offices  of Edwin W. Orr

J.D., Cumberland School of Law (anticipated 2015)
B.S., in Animal Science (Equine), Auburn University, cum laude

LL.B., Kyiv National Economic University named after Vadym Hetman
Master of Laws, Energy Law, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
Ukrainian Lawyer
Professional experience includes: Law Consultant, Ukrainian Mining Company, LLC; Law Consultant, Privat Bank

Distance Candidates Include

J.D., University of Denver
M.B.A., Finance, University of Colorado Boulder
B.S., Zoology/Animal Biology, Colorado State University
Admitted to practice law in Colorado
Recent professional experience includes: Of Counsel Attorney (real estate and
land use), Garfield & Hecht, P.C

J.D., Maurer School of Law, Indiana University - Bloomington
M.S., Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry, University of California, Davis
M.S., Finance, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business
B.A., Indiana University, English Literature
B.S., Indiana University, Biochemistry
Admitted to practice law in New York, Texas and Florida
Recent professional experience includes Instructor (Chemistry), in the Department of Chemistry and Life Science, United States Military Academy, West Point; extensive legal experience in military, including legal support to Joint Special Operations Taskforce in Afghanistan

J.D., cum laude, University of New Hampshire School of Law (Pierce Law Review)
B.S., English Literature, Northeastern University
Admitted to practice in Michigan, Massachusetts, New Hampshire
Recent professional experience includes his current position as Of Counsel with Dickinson Wright PLLC in Michigan; Extensive prior experience including Service as Captain in the United States Marine Corps

J.D., University of New Mexico School of Law
B.A., Anthropology, Arizona State University
B.S., American Indian Studies, Arizona State University

LL.M., Employment Law, John Marshall Law School
J.D., Capitol University Law School
Masters of Plant Protection and Pest Management, University of Georgia
B.S., Biology, Georgia College
Admitted to practice in Georgia
Professional experience includes his current position as solo practitioner in Warner Robins, Georgia, prior experience as USDA extension agent and APHIS quarantine officer

J.D., University of San Francisco School of Law
B.A., English Writing & Literature, University of San Diego, Departmental Honors
Professional Experience: Adjunct Professor, California Western School of Law; Admitted to practice law in California
Recent professional experience includes: Attorney, Gilliland & Burgess, APLC; Street Law Instructor & Facilitator, University of San Francisco School of Law

J.D., University of Arkansas School of Law
B.S. B.A., Dual Degrees in Finance and Accounting, University of Arkansas
Admitted to practice in Arkansas
Professional experience includes his current position as Special Advisor, Bureau of Industry and Security, Department of Commerce: former aide to Senator Mark Pryor

J.D., Southern University Law Center
B.S., Business Administration Pre-Law, Louisiana State University
Admitted to practice Law in Louisiana
Recent professional experience includes: Louisiana House of Representatives, District 87; The Law Office of Ebony T. Woodruff Harvey, Louisiana

Saturday, August 29, 2015

LL.M. Alum, Richard Flournoy, Chief of Staff, USDA Risk Management Agency

We are pleased to congratulate Richard Flournoy on his new position as Chief of Staff at USDA - Risk Management Agency (RMA).  Richard serves under fellow alumna, Brandon Willis, the USDA RMA Administrator.

Prior to being Chief of Staff, Richard was tapped to serve as Acting Director of the Appeals and Litigation Staff for USDA RMA. Before that, he served as the Special Assistant to the RMA Administrator.  In that position he served as the liaison between the Administrator and the Deputy Administrators, drafted policy memoranda, responded to congressional inquiries and advised the Administrator.

Before joining RMA, Richard was a USDA, Farm Service Agency Agricultural Program Specialist, serving as Peanut Marketing Assistance Loan/Loan Deficiency Payment Lead, a position he accepted immediately after completing the LL.M. Program.

Richard received his J.D. from Mercer University - Walter F. George School of Law, where he served on the Mercer Law Review.  He received his LL.M. degree in Agricultural & Food Law from our Program in 2011.

We are particularly proud of Richard's good work at USDA and the leadership he provides. We congratulate him on his success.

On a personal note, Richard and Michelle Carney were married this year in Little Rock, Arkansas. Congratulations and best wishes to Richard and Michelle!

Monday, August 24, 2015

In addition to Ag & Food Law - Eugenio Lomba Receives Award

Not all of our graduates find their ultimate career path in agricultural and food law positions. Professional opportunities often come up that take us off the path we initially envisioned.  Eugenio Lomba, an alumnus from Puerto Rico provides a good example.

For the past eight years, Eugenio has served as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations Division (DHS-HSI), detailed to the U.S. Attorneys Office in San Juan. He prosecutes narcotics and money laundering cases with some sporadical civil forfeiture cases as well.

We are proud to report that last December, Eugenio was recognized with the DHS HSI San Juan Prosecutor Award. He is pictured here receiving the award. 

In an email exchange, Eugenio wrote, "I am convinced that my training and the education I received at the University of Arkansas played a significant part in my performance and accomplishments. I am very proud to be an alumni of the LL.M. Program."

Congratulations, Eugenio! We are proud as well of your important work.  

We strive to assure that the education we offer our students has a broad application to a wide range of professional possibilities. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

LL.M. Candidate Christina Rice Begins Harvard Fellowship

We are very pleased to announce that Christina Rice, LL.M. candidate in last year's class, has just begun her work as a Clinical Fellow in the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic (FLPC), a division of the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School.

In this position, Christina will report to Emily Broad Leib, the Director of the FLPC and work with the clinic staff and students on a broad range of international, federal, state, and local policy projects that address the health, environmental, and economic impacts of our food system.

FLPC’s projects fall into four main categories: Food Policy Councils and Food Systems Planning; Food Access and Obesity Prevention; Food Waste; and, Sustainable Food Production.

Christina will serve as the lead attorney on one or more FLPC projects, manage client and partner relationships, work closely with law students enrolled in the clinic, assist in the development of classroom courses in conjunction with the clinic, represent the clinic to local and regional food policy groups and at national conferences, attend to clinic administrative needs, and help to set and implement the vision for the ongoing development and success of the Clinic.

Christina earned her J.D., with honors from Charlotte School of Law and her B.S., in Business Administration & Finance/Accounting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She will complete her LL.M. degree by finishing her final article this Fall.

We should note that Christina is our second fellow at the Harvard Law FLPC.  She replaces LL.M. alumna Alli Condra, who is now in Oregon practicing in the Portland office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP.

Congratulations, Christina.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Secretary of Agriculture, Wes Ward featured in Agri Arkansas

LL.M. Alum and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward featured in Agri Arkansas. 

We are pleased to share that LL.M. Alum Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture was featured in a recent episode of Agri Arkansas which aired on AETN in late July. If you missed it, you can catch the episode on the AETN Website.

As a Candidate in the LL.M. Program, Wes served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Arkansas State University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law.  

Ward joined the Marine Corps in 2000 and has deployed to both Afghanistan and Jordan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  His current reserve unit is the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) located in Great Lakes, Illinois.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy 2015 Course Projects

Our Urban Agriculture Law & Policy course, taught by Nicole Civita, explores the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities. This course surveys the history, contemporary attributes, and varied benefits of urban cultivation. And, it examines the legal dimensions of urban agricultural production, distribution and marketing.  It involves the study of planning, land use, zoning, and resource management law.  It also considers the potential for urban agricultural activities to support community development and food security and examines the work of local food policy counsels and initiatives.

Urban Agricultural Law & Policy was offered for the first time last Fall semester, and the students enrolled conducted a semester-long study of urban agriculture in a city, neighborhood or metropolitan area of their choosing.  They each conducted a high-level food system assessment, audited existing agricultural and food policies, identified areas for reform and advocacy, and proposed a food action plan that balanced the varied interests in their selected region.

Professor Civita was very impressed with the work of her students and arranged for selected projects to be posted publicly, with student permission.  They are linked below.  We hope that the assessments and policy proposals will inspire urban leaders around the country and across the globe.

Diane MacDonald, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Anna Dey, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Maranda White, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

An Oasis in a Food Desert: Revitalizing Food Production and Nutrition in the Salt River Valley
Trevor Findley, LL.M., Agricultural & Food Law

Christina Rice, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural  Food Law

Tiffany Alvoid, Candidate, LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy is offered again this Fall in the LL.M. Program, and we look forward to what interesting projects this year's class will develop.

Alumni News: Mandy Meadors in External Affairs at Southern Power

We are pleased to announce that our J.D. and LL.M. alumna, Mandy (Thomas) Meadors has accepted a project manager position in Southern Power External Affairs office, effective July 29. In this role, she will perform legislative, regulatory, governmental and community affairs activities at state and local levels.  Southern Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, an American electric utility holding company based in the southern United States. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with executive offices also located in Birmingham, Alabama. The company is currently the 16th largest utility company in the world and the fourth largest in the U.S.

Mandy earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Central Arkansas and both a juris doctor and masters of law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. Mandy began her career in Arkansas, where she practiced law for several years, litigating cases before judges and juries, appearing before various governmental entities and advising institutional clients on regulatory issues. In 2012, she relocated to Birmingham and completed a bucket-list item – becoming a chef. She graduated culinary school and worked with Chef Frank Stitt in his nationally renowned restaurant, Highlands Bar & Grill.

We are always proud of the diverse interests and talents of our graduates, and we are delighted to see them achieve professional success.  Many of the skills developed in the LL.M. Program in administrative law, regulatory compliance, and public policy are easily adaptable to a variety of careers.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Nicole Civita: "Resilience: The Food Policy Imperative for a Volatile Future"

Our alumna and professor, Nicole Civita recently published an excellent article in the Environmental Law Reporter, Resilience: The Food Policy Imperative for a Volatile Future45 Envtl. L. Rep. 10,663 (2015).   This article is on the cutting edge of legal analysis on the concept of resilience as applied to food systems and will be certain to spark an important dialogue.

To sustain a growing population on a changing planet, food policies at all levels — community, regional, national, and global — must promote judicious resource use, prioritize stewardship, align with ecosystems, advance social and distributive justice, consider national security, and position us to weather long- and short-term disruptions, both climate change-driven and otherwise. This Comment considers the power of a profuse human population, reviews climate consequences of the way we have been satisfying our food needs, and demonstrates the exigencies of new approaches to withstand the mounting pressures and disruptions assailing agriculture. It offers resilience as an essential organizing imperative for agrifood systems, policies, and laws. In so doing, the Comment explores the nature and value of resilience, outlines the characteristics of resilient food systems, identifies benefits of orienting our food future around resilience, and suggests preliminary steps in the direction of reforming agrifood policy for resilience.
Nicole serves as an Affiliated Professor and the Director of the Food Recovery Project at the University of Arkansas School of Law.  She teaches Urban Agriculture and Food Justice Law & Policy in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law.  She is also on the faculty at Sterling College in Vermont and serves as the Assistant Director of the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems.  She tweets on behalf of the Food Recovery Project @ConserveFood and blogs at FoodRecoveryProject.com.

LL.M. Alum (and author) Mark Cohen: How to Write a Bad Contract

Mark Cohen, one of our LL.M. alumni, is a practicing attorney in Colorado. One of his specialties is legal writing -  good, readable, and clear legal writing -  something that is all to often neglected in contract drafting.  As his law firm's website provides:
My passion is drafting documents and helping clients resolve disputes arising out of documents (or the lack of them). I believe the distinction between litigation and transactional work is often artificial. Business, contract, intellectual property, employment, and real estate litigation are almost always the result of poor drafting, insufficient investigation, or an incomplete negotiation.  I prefer plain English over "Legalese."  Plain English lowers costs, improves productivity, increases credibility, and reduces misunderstandings. . . 
Mark recently published an amusing and very educational satirical article in the Colorado Lawyer, How to Draft A Bad Contract (Aug. 2015). It considers and pokes fun at contract drafting.

The Michigan Bar Journal will be reprinting the article as well.

Last May, Mark was honored by the Colorado State Bar Association for his service on the Editorial Board of The Colorado Lawyer magazine.  See, Alumni Update: Mark Cohen Honored by Colorado State Bar Association (Apr. 20, 2015).  His other publications include two works of fiction, Bluetick Revenge and The Fractal Murders.

Congratulations, Mark. Our alumni are encouraged to send us news from their work so that we can post about their accomplishments!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 Supplement and Website for Food Farming & Sustainability

In 2010, Professor Susan Schneider published the book, Food, Farming, and Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law.  The book was designed for use in teaching a law school course in agricultural law but has been useful in a variety of contexts.

With the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, a new Census of Agriculture, and a host of other recent developments, Professor Schneider has been working on an update. She is pleased to report that the 2015 Supplement is done. This 120 page document is available for free download to anyone interested, whether or not they have purchased the book.  She hopes it will be a helpful resource.

Rather than embedding links in the Supplement, as links change and some documents can be hard to find, Professor Schneider developed a companion website that she will continue to monitor, keeping the links up to date.

The website is at www.FoodFarmingSustainability.com, and the Supplement is available for free download as a pdf on the Resources page.  A new edition of the book will be out in 2016.

food farming sustainability